/>
X
Business
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Know before you buy: Every major retailer return policy compared

'Tis the season of giving... and returning. We've gone through the fine print of every major retailer and brand so you know what qualifies for returns and for how long.
Written by June Wan, Technology Editor on
High angle view of young woman making credit card payment while doing online shopping on laptop.
Oscar Wong/Getty Images

There are always two parts to the holiday shopping season: the buying and gifting phase and the receiving and returning phase. If truth be told, no matter how much you think you know that special someone, or yourself, not every holiday gift is a guaranteed smash hit. 

Perhaps you should've ordered that pair of fuzzy winter boots a size larger, or the "new" laptop can't seem to hold a charge; the odds are always stacked against you.

If you think about it, the end of the year is when most retailers and brands embrace the holiday cheer to clean out any leftover products in their warehouses, so defects and irregularities are not surprising. So you might need to return a product that didn't arrive as described. In fact, knowing how flexible a retailer's return policy could be helpful in deciding to buy from one source over another. 

Also: Live blog: The best Black Friday deals right now

Below I've broken down the fine print of every major retailer and brand so you know exactly how much longer you have before that return window is closed for good.  

Holiday return policies for major retailers

Here's a snapshot of every major retailer and how their return policies compare:

Retailer

Return window

Return shipping

In-store returns

Unqualified items

Amazon

Until Jan. 31, 2023

Free, via UPS 

Yes, via Whole Foods, UPS, or Kohl's

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Walmart

Until Jan. 31, 2023

Free, via FedEx

Yes, via Walmart

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Target

Until Jan. 24, 2023

Free, via UPS

Yes, via Target

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Best Buy

Until Jan. 14, 2023, or after 60 days for Totaltech members

Free, via UPS, USPS, and FedEx

Yes, via Best Buy

Activatable devices, downloadable content, gift cards

Costco

Within 90 days after purchase

No

Yes, via Costco

Activatable devices, downloadable content, gift cards

B&H

Until Feb. 1, 2023

Paid, via your shipping preference

Yes, via B&H

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards

Newegg

Until Jan. 31, 2023

Free, via UPS and FedEx

No

Products from third-party sellers, downloadable content, gift cards


More: 30+ best Black Friday deals from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and more

Holiday return policies for brands

And here's a snapshot of every major brand and how their return policies compare:

Retailer

Return window

Return shipping

In-store returns

Unqualified items

Apple

Until Jan. 8, 2023

Free, via UPS and FedEx 

Yes, via Apple store

Downloadable digital content, gift cards

Samsung

Within 30 days after delivery

Free, via FedEx

Yes, via Samsung store

None

Google

Until Jan. 15, 2023

Free, via FedEx

Yes, via Google store

Downloadable digital content, SIM cards, gift cards

Microsoft

Within 30 days after delivery

Free, via UPS

Yes, via Microsoft store

Downloadable digital content, gift cards

LG

Within 30 days after delivery

Free, via FedEx

No

None

HP

Until Jan. 15, 2023

Free, via UPS and FedEx

No

Downloadable digital content, gift cards, large format printers, "Final Sale" items

Lenovo

Until Jan. 15, 2023

Free, via UPS

No

Lenovo Outlet orders, server/storage products


FAQs

What is Amazon's return policy?

While most of the items purchased from Amazon between Oct. 11 and Dec. 25, 2022 are eligible for a return until Jan. 31, 2023, the policy does not apply to every item on the platform. When shopping, you should pay close attention to whether you're choosing products that are sold and shipped directly from Amazon, which qualify for the retailer's extended return policy, and ones that are distributed by third-party sellers, which don't qualify.

As always, downloadable and consumable digital products such as gift cards are not eligible for returns, period.

What happens if my item arrived damaged?

In the case that an item arrived damaged, either due to shipping or manufacturer defect, you'll want to reach out to the retailer or brand's customer service line for further instruction. In most cases, the return or replacement process will be the same as usual. However, there is a possibility that you may have to file an investigation claim with your local carrier if the damage is suspected to have occurred during shipping.

What if I don't have my receipt?

Most stores will require you to have either a physical or digital receipt should you want to return a product. If you ordered from an e-commerce platform like Amazon, Walmart, or Newegg, the receipt should be available to you on your Orders page. 

That said, retailers like Costco, Macy's, and Target do accept receipt-less returns. In some cases, you'll have to settle for store credit instead of getting actual cash back. 

For physical purchases, it's always good practice to take a picture of the receipt in case the item is not as described or you change your mind.

Editorial standards

Related

iPad Pro Black Friday deals: Save up to $400 on 12.9 and 11-inch models
2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro

iPad Pro Black Friday deals: Save up to $400 on 12.9 and 11-inch models

The 55 best Black Friday tech deals from Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy
Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet view

The 55 best Black Friday tech deals from Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy

When is Black Friday 2022? Plus where to find the best deals right now
macbook pro M2 sitting on a desk as woman makes video call

When is Black Friday 2022? Plus where to find the best deals right now